FINAL DEFENDANT IN CAB DRIVER MURDER SET FOR TUESDAY TRIAL

JEFFERSON COUNTY — After more than six years, the fourth and final defendant charged in connection with the 2011 botched robbery and shooting death of a Mt. Vernon cab driver is scheduled to go to trial Tuesday.

Mark Taylor
(Source: JCSO)

Mark Taylor Jr., 25, of Mt. Vernon, has remained in the Jefferson County Jail since his May 2011 arrest for the murder of 75-year-old Charles Ellis.

The three other defendants are Christopher Wells, Damondros James, and Demandre Black. Black was sentenced in October 2015 to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm.

Wells, a juvenile at the time of the shooting, has gone through the judicial process. He has been charged as an adult, entered an open plea of guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced November 17.

James also entered an open plea of guilty to first-degree murder for his involvement in Ellis’ death and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The plea agreements for all three required them to agree to testify against Taylor. However, James is now defying that agreement and is refusing to testify against Taylor.

The plea agreements provided the men with “use Immunity” which prohibits their testimony against Taylor from being against them in matters other than perjury or obstruction of justice.

If James is called to testify and still refuses, he can be held in contempt of court and any resulting sentence would have to be served consecutively to his current 50-year sentence. There is no statutory maximum sentence for contempt.

If convicted, Taylor likely faces a sentence range of 20 to 60 years in prison, with a possible 15-year enhancement since a gun was used in the alleged crime. Jury selection will begin for his trial at 9 a.m. Tuesday.